Although most people recognize that we are only about midway through the summer, for summer associates, the season is almost done, if it hasn’t finished already. Since summer associates need to head back to their law schools by the middle or end of August, most law firms wrap up their summer programs by the beginning of August to give their summers plenty of time to get back into the swing of things on campus. Some summer associates are fortunate enough to get full-time offers while they are working at firms for the summer, but some summer associates need to wait to receive offers. Indeed, I did not know if I’d be invited to return to the firm where I summered until October after I complete my summer associate gig. There are a few things that summer associates can do to maximize their chances of receiving a full-time offer if they are waiting to hear back from a firm.
Stay Top Of Mind
It may seem obvious, but staying in the minds of the people with whom the summer associate worked is a good way to maximize chances of receiving an offer. Depending on the circumstances, this can take a number of different forms. For instance, I knew a summer associate who was a real asset for his law firm’s softball team. Each week, this summer associate starred on the firm’s softball team, where he was a big help.
After he returned to law school, he still made sure to schlepp back to the city where he summered to play on the firm’s softball team once or twice a week for the rest of the season. This person’s law school was in the general vicinity of the law firm’s office, but this was by no means an easy trip for the summer to take, and the summer probably had other time commitments once he returned to campus. However, I am sure that all of the people at the firm appreciated that this summer came back to lend his talents to the firm’s softball team, and when it came time to extend full-time offers, this attorney got a job even though others were not so lucky. Of course, not everyone is an excellent softball player, but each person has their own way to connect with people with whom they used to work, and this can help folks obtain full-time associate offers.
Stay Interested In Projects
Some summer associates often work on long-term projects that are handled by a firm. For instance, when I was a summer associate, I worked on a few long-term litigation matters that had been creeping their way through federal court for years. It was clear that I would likely be working on these same matters if I was hired as a full-time associate.
I made sure to set up alerts for each of the matters on which I worked as a summer associate so that I could stay apprised of all the news concerning those matters. Sometimes, I would reach out to people with whom I worked and give them my two cents about some of the news stories I saw about these matters. I think that the people at the firm at which I worked appreciated that I took such an active approach in staying on top of these matters, and that couldn’t have hurt when it came time for the people at the firm to decide which summer associates would receive full-time offers.
If your firm takes a long time to get back to you about a full-time offer, it may not hurt to keep looking for other employment opportunities. This helps ensure that if you do not receive an offer from the firm due to performance issues, economic problems, or other reasons, you have other options available. The 3L on-campus recruiting process is typically pretty robust and might be overlooked by some law students.
Since it took several months for me to hear back from my firm about a full-time associate position, I kept looking for work after I graduated from law school. I interviewed with some other law firms and a few public interest positions. I also remember interviewing for a clerkship with the Supreme Court of Alaska when one of the justices of that court stopped by our campus in the fall. Of course, it probably wouldn’t have been great if people at my firm found out I was looking for new employment opportunities, but in many instances, it is important to have a backup in place in case it takes a while for firms to get back to summers about full-time positions.
Of course, we all know that the vast majority of summer associates are offered full-time positions at law firms, so many summers do not need to sweat receiving a full-time offer. However, summer associates can still increase their chances of receiving a full-time offer from law firms.
Jordan Rothman is a partner of The Rothman Law Firm, a full-service New York and New Jersey law firm. He is also the founder of Student Debt Diaries, a website discussing how he paid off his student loans. You can reach Jordan through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.